Hello from Pure Michigan! Union Pier, MI to be exact. It’s one of my all time favorite escapes. Our good friends, Dan and Mike have a cottage here and invited Mike and me for the weekend. It’s one of the most peaceful places to visit all year round and always prioritizes slowing down.
Listening to the wind through the trees overrides checking your cell phone for messages. Taking a walk on the beach feels meditative and rejuvenating. And, while doing nothing is perfectly ok, there are several restaurants, cafes, antiques, wineries and breweries within a short walk or drive.
I decided to come to the cottage a day early, by myself, so I could catch up on my writing. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day work that we often forget that it’s ok to slow down and simplify.
With simplicity in mind, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share this Simple Basil Pesto with you. Pesto is one of the easiest things to make. It eases kitchen stress because it comes together quickly and a little goes a long way so you’ll have it on hand for a while. It can also be used with a variety of different foods from chicken to pasta to sandwiches and even pizza.
My twists on the recipe are honestly pretty basic. I wanted to play with our purple basil, which inspired me to make pesto in the first place. I mixed the purple with the green (leaves only, not the flowers) and while the taste wasn’t too different, the color looked a lot more rich than it does when I use green basil alone. I went easy on the parmesan only using 1/3 of a cup, but a lot of people prefer a half cup. I recommend tasting as you mix. I also added a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end, which brightened up the flavors.
I hope you have a really nice weekend and remember to find ways to simplify your day… this pesto recipe is a really good start.
Simple Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves (I used purple and green basil leaves)
Note: Do not use the basil flowers.
1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
1. Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a Vitamix or food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Slowly add half of the olive oil while pulsing the pesto.
3. If using immediately, add the rest of the olive oil and transfer pesto to a bowl.
4. Mix in the cheese and stir to combine.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice for brightness.
6. If freezing, transfer to an air tight container and drizzle oil over the top.
7. Freeze for 1-2 months.
8. Thaw and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper and a light squeeze of lemon juice.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2017.